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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  July 3, 2010 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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first up, exclusive story. imagining a woman who almost died. why? because she ate raw cookie dough. food borne illnesses becoming increasingly more common. plus, it was once the most popular diabetes drug anywhere in the world. safety concerns about evandia. you'll have to hear this. finally, medical mystery this week. hidden in the painting of the sis seen chapel. michael angelo in the anatomy of art. let's get started. your food, you're expected to be safe and the united states house has passed a food safety bill. the senate is still in limbo on this. but i can tell you it's become an urgent matter, which is why we're talking about it today. in fact, just in the past two weeks the cec has been investigating a multi-state salmonella outbreak from frozen
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dinners. sickened 37 people in 13 states. the usda recalled 30,000 pounds of ground beef due to possible e. coli. food borne illnesses can kill you and possibly make you sick. linda has done something, she took a little bite of raw cookie dough. what happened to her after that is something that really no one could have predicted. here's our exclusive interview. linda rivera was living the good life, a mother, wife, special ed assistant. linda was happy and healthy. all of that changed in may 2009. >> i felt like i had that cold, the flu, something like that. >> reporter: in fact, linda got so sick her husband took her to the emergency room. there she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and sent home. but the thing is she didn't get any better. >> i asked her if she was okay. she said, no, i have to go through this one more day, i'll die. so we took her in. >> reporter: the doctors told her she had contracted e. coli
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eh-157, that's a dangerous food borne illness that can attack organs. e. coli had settled into her colon and doctors now had to remove it. a few days later linda was told what gave her e. coli. >> our attorney called us and said that it was cookie dough. i usually use a big tub, make lots of cookies at one time. just a couple of bites, that's all it took. >> reality is 60%, 65% of everybody who buys these products admits that they eat it raw. 76,000 people get e. coli on-587 every year. between 50 and 100 deaths every year. so in the scheme of bugs, it's -- it's a relatively low number. but it's a really nasty, nasty bug. >> reporter: for a whole year, linda had lots of problems. her kidneys shut down. she couldn't walk or talk.
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she went into cardiac arrest. three times she was almost given her last rights. but she never gave up. >> okay. for is a minutes -- >> reporter: now in a rae has been hospital in sfraps san francisco, linda is learning to live again. >> her ability to deal with the pain and problems that she still has have really been heroic. >> reporter: her husband richard is right there with her, says he wouldn't wish this on anyone. >> any family to have to go through this, i mean, just -- it does tear your life away. linda's probably the most giving and cheerful and optimistic woman you'll ever meet. and she gave and gave and gave. and to see what this has done to her has tore me apart. >> reporter: linda is not going to give up. she says she has a lot to live for. >> i don't want this horrible disease to win. so i want the rest of the world to know about it. they need to know.
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don't take a chance with it. it's not worth it. you give up your life, you lose everything. >> i tell you we did speak to linda's husband this week and he says linda is improving little by little. he figures at best she will be in rehab six to eight months and then go home and do outpatient rehab. she will also require a nurse's care for some time to come as well. foodborne contamination, cookie dough, that's what this is all from. linda, we wish you well. the drug avandia is used to lower sugar levels but could be doing significant harm as well. two more studies raise more concern about popular diabetes drug increasing the risks. after analyzing records of nearly 230,000 elderly patients, those taking avandia was 27% more likely to have a stroke, 25% more likely to develop heart failure, and 14% more likely to die. there's another study as well that updated research that was first published in 2007. researchers there looked at a
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total of 56 studies an found that taking avandia raised the risk of heart attacks by 28%. keep in mind something important. diabetes alone does increase your risk for all those things. but the important thing is when patients were switched to another diabetes drug, roughly 500 heart attacks and roughly 300 case of heart failure were avoided every month. that's according to a recent senate finance committee report. i can tell you that this is confusing and a fight brug. there was a third separate study that found there wasn't an increased risk of serious side effects. the fda first approved avandia in 1989. then it required black box safety warnings. you're going to look at one right here. they're put on the medication after concerns were first raised three years ago. avandia's manufacture glaxosmithkline complied but continues to say it's safe. they're going to meet in two weeks to see if there is enough evidence to keep the drug on the market or not.
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glaxosmithkline, gsk, says we look forward to participating in a rigorous scientific discussion about the new studies at this fda meeting. keep in mind this is a drug for diabetes. so you shouldn't simply stop taking it. that would be dangerous. you should know that there are many other options out there. in fact, if you want to know what some of those onyxes are we're going to have it for you. "ask the doctor," that's next. and a guy who is taking down bernie madoff. he has his sites set on something that happens to every one of us, fraud, fraud in melt care. the numbers are just staggering. the numbers are just staggering. stay with us. he recommends citracal plus bone density builder...
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we are back with "sgmd ." think of this as your appointment, no waiting, no insurance necessary. is there an alternative medicine for avandia? the answer is yes. the american diabetes association tells us patients do have option it is they have concerns about avandia. this story of the week. first of all, it's important to have a good discussion with your doctor about this. there are some questions you may want to ask specifically. first of all with will this new drug lower my blood sugar, will it cause hypoglycemia? will it cause weight gain, can i afford the drug? what are the side effects?
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keep in mind all drugs have some side effects. most people with type ii diabetes start on a true and tried group called metformin. affordable, generic drug. if you want to stip stick to the same type of drug as avandia your doctor may offer actos. and there's dpp-4 inhibitors and there are daily and weekly injections. many patients are diabetes do require insulin as well. also keep in mind there's simple proper diet and exercise. that can work for a lots of people. that of course brings us to our "fit nation challenge" two weeks away from the new york city triathlon. i'm doing it. i'm a little nervous so i invited six cnn viewers to join me. they're from all over the country. take a look at their locations. they're going to zero in today on linda fisher lewis training in oregon. she spent 20 years in law enforcement but a car accident
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took a lot of that away from her. she's using this challenge to help get her body back in shape, get back to helping people as well. take a look at how she's doing. >> hi, i'm linda. i'm one of the fit nation challenge for the new york city triathlon. i just wanted to check in and let you know how things have been going. it's been a challenge over the last five months. it's been a lot of good opportunities and some hard times as well. just having the confidence and believing in yourself that you can do this, finding the time to workout and get in the training that you need to so that you're ready for a three-hour race. well, i think i'm ready. i've put in the time. i'm definitely scared to death. swimming in the hudson has scared me. i know i can swim the distance, it's just the hudson river. other than that, the biking has been good, the weather has been good. here in oregon, the weather has been horrible. we haven't had just only one day over 80 degrees so i know the heat is going to be something for me to think about when i'm in new york. i want to thanker for their support, their opportunity.
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i'm looking forward to seeing everyone in new york city. >> all right. linda, good stuff. thanks so much for putting in all the hard work. keep it up. i'll see you in the hudson river, hopefully the finish line as well. coming up, i'm going to introduce you to a bounty hunter of a different kind. his target are crooks for committing health care fraud. stay with us.
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last month, we heard a staggering estimate that fraud takes one in every $10 spent on health care, 10% op all of that in this country. it comes as no surprise to sun of the country's best fraud investigators, the financial analyst who warned government regulators about bernie madoff. they ignored him until it was too late. he wrote a book called "no one would listen." i decided to pay him a visit to hear about his latest target, health care. you know, when you talk about madoff, $65 billion, whatever, in many ways some of the data regarding medicare suggests there's that much fraud going on every single year. $60 billion a year. >> at least. that's only against medicare, which is about half of what's
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spent on medicare in this country if other half is private individuals like me and you who have our own insurance through our employer. those plans are also being cheated on. and so the losses are actually a lot higher than that. >> medicare fraud, what does that mean exactly? it. >> means the government is paying money for goods and services that are not being delivered. someone is spending a false bill and the government is paying it. it's not results in any health care for the american population. >> what percentage of health care practitioners do you think engage in fraud? >> we really don't know. we can just guesstimate that about 10 cents of every health care dollar is stolen. >> wow. >> that's the minimum. it may be as high as 20 cents per dollar. we're not sure. >> what are some of the most egg egregious examples you've seen of medicare fraud sfl. >> evasive surgery, heart surgery where heart surgery is not required.
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putting in a stint where maybe a drug would do. >> you're talking about literally battering -- performing open heart surgery that wasn't necessary just to make money. you're not just talking about taking money. you're talking about potentially killing someone if the operation didn't go well or some complication occurred. >> that's correct. you get an infection, who knows what's going to happen. they want to put in the device or stint instead of treating it with drug which is a lower cost to the government as well and may be a better treatment for the patient but they want to open them up because that's what they get paid to do, on a procedure basis, not what's right for the client. >> i've heard cray zy examples doctors literally -- not doctors but criminals literally billing on behalf of doctors who are no longer alive. they send these bills to patients whose doctors rt r. not alive. >> dead doctors billing is a problem. that's been found in new york city. >> you say that very cavalier. this is just something -- you know what, we know that doctor died a few years ago, we're just going to bill on his behalf and
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make money. >> there are other fraud is similarly bad, i think. females coming in with prostate operations or male pregnancies. a no brainer but yet the government pays those bills repeat repeatedly. or dead patients receiving care. bad enough that we have dead doctors billing but what about dead patients billed for. >> 2010, literally someone is going to say, oh, yeah, john doe, pregnancy, we'll take care of that. >> that happens. that happens. there's other ones, psychiatrists that will bill 42 hours a day, 380 hours a week, until you catch them. they're easy to put away. >> they're not delusional. they're doing this on purpose. >> it's willful. >> some of that seems like it should be an offense. >> that's the low hanging fruit. the computers and these computer programs write, you will have the low hanging fruit. to be the in-depth, the big massive frauds that are carefully hidden by master criminals, there you need a whistle-blower from the inside. that's the only way you're going
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to detect the big frauds. >> we're going to have much more with harry markopolos straight ahead and the fraud that could be hidden in your own medical be hidden in your own medical bills. rage in america
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in wall street they only steal your money and that's bad and i thought wall street had the biggest crooks in the world until i got into the health care fraud. in health care not only do they steal your money, they can steal your life or take your loved one's life and that is beyond evil. those are more important cases to me. >> we are back with sgmd and that is a fraud investigator who figured out the bernie madoff scam. he says thieves steal more money from medicare every year than madoff took in his whole criminal career. we're not talking about inefficients here.
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we're not talking about mistakes. we're talking about people intentionally trying to make money off the government using medicare? >> yes. they're upcoding. so a simple case of pneumonia comes in and pays so much but you can make several times that much if it's a complex case of pneumonia. so you falsely code it as complex and it really was just simple. or you're billi for individual therapy but you're really providing the therapy in a group setting which is much cheaper to deliver. so you're over charging the government. all of those little thousands and millions of dollars add up to tens of billions. >> patients come into the hospital. they have pneumonia. i get a chest x-ray. it shows simple pneumonia but i say it only pays this much. complicated pneumonia pays this much. i'll check the box two boxes higher? >> yes. it's as simple as that and it costs you nothing to check that box two boxes higher. you are delivering those claim forms electronically. how much did that cost you? a fraction of a penny perhaps when you can make several thousand dollars more?
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>> is there a percentage of what you bring back in terms of fraud? >> yes. the government basically will pay 50 cent per dollar of fraud located but they'll fine the bad guys $3 for every $1 they steal and give the whistle blower team which i usually lead 50 cents and keep $2.oo for the government so the bad guys end up paying the fines and penalties and also pay the government's costs of investigation. the problem is we don't have enough government resources to take on enough cases. >> what can they do? what can they be empowered to do? >> the most important thing they can do is when they get their bill, called an explanation of benefits, get it in the mail, they need to read it and say was this treatment provided? were these lab tests actually run? if you see things on there that you never received, pick up the phone. call the number. call the medicare fraud hotline. call your local district attorney. call someone in a position of authority so that they can be taken care of and investigated.
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>> will it be? >> probably not. there's probably not enough people on the other end of those calls to take those calls and follow up but if you don't you've given a green light to the bad guys. if you've at least picked up the phone you know you did your job as a citizen. that's all we can ask of you. >> do you read your bill carefully? >> i do. and i made a conscious decision because of the business i'm in. i have a family. i have three small kids. i have a wife. i make a conscious decision to ignore what i'm seeing. because i'm over billed. if i want my family to get health care, to continue to receive health care, i can't look at those bills. so i don't practice what i preach and i'm ashamed to say that. >> for many americans cooking out is a vital part of celebrating the 4th of july. it's probably what we're going to do as well. before you fire up the grill there are a few things you should think about. some studies suggest people who eat a lot of charred meat may be at higher risk for cancers including stomach cancer,
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pancreatic cancer, colo rectal cancer, even breast cancer. compounds can form when you cook meat at high temperatures. researchers suggest these chemicals could pose an increased cancer risk. first of all, clean your grill with soapy water. get rid of the burned meat residue. also, don't burn your meat. if you do burn part of the meat, cut that part off. you can precook your meats a little ahead of time on the microwave or stove and they won't sit on the grill too long. another potential risk that comes from the fat dripping on the charcoal, the smoke that contains chemicals which have caused tumors in animal experiments. these compounds can be soaked up by the meat so to reduce the amount of carcinogens coming from the smoke select leaner cuts of meat. trim visible fat. consider grilling with foil poked with holes so the fat drips off but not with a lot of smoke. and don't pierce the meat while grilling. that way less fat is going to drip. hope you enjoy your 4th. up next, have you ever been
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to the sistine chapel and looked up at the ceiling and seen a hidden part of the human anatomy? our medical mystery this week. you'll feel so smart after you watch this. we'll have it right after the break. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident... in their ability to be ready with cialis. with two clinically proven dosing options, you can choose the moment that's right for you... ... and your partner. 36-hour cialis and cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a low-dose tablet... you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. day or night. tell your doctor about your medical condition... ... and all medications and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed back ache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. 36-hour cialis or cialis for daily use.
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we are back with sgmd. our medical mystery this week is where anatomy meets art. i love this stuff. if you've ever been to the sistine chapel and seen the magnificent painting did you notice a part of anatomy hidden in the art work? searchers believe they have solved this mystery. in fact it is the brain stem. you see it right there. scientists say michaelangelo's best hidden works may have hidden messages to suggest the human brain is among god's greatest creations. look at the neck specifically. if you look at that image there and the image here it looks like the brain stem. it's michaelangelo's painting called the separation of light from darkness. it's on the ceiling of the sistine chapel and depicts the beginning of the universe.
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a neuro surgeon from john hopkins university studied the painting and found the neck of god appears to contain the human brain stem. michaelangelo actually dissected cadavers to understand how the human body works and help create so many of the paintings that have become famous today. researchers say he put a hidden message in the ceiling of the sistine chapel to show people that he knew anatomy very, very well. the brain stem incidentally controls breathing. it controls your heart beat and your blood pressure. all that information that goes to and from our body passes through the brain stem on the way to our brain. searchers say michaelangelo probably didn't know the functions of the components of the brain but understood it was a very important structure. next time you visit the sistine chapel see if you can find that brain stem. now we have been reporting about haiti on sgmd after since the devastating earthquake struck this very small country. it's been six months since 220,000 people died and over 300,000 were injured in and around the entire han
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